Things I Take For Granted

The wind is back, after a few days of glorious calm, and it is bringing us rain. Cleaning up after my yardwork yesterday will have to wait. πŸ™‚

I’m sure I told you the story about going out on a whale watching excursion my first summer here. The relevant part of that adventure – at least as far as this post is concerned – mentioned that we patrons would tell each other when and where we saw one of the giant beasts by referring to the hour on a clock. So somebody would (for example) say “Look! At 2:00” and we would all turn. Well, most of us would.

Those onboard under the age of about 25 were just confused. This, of course, is because in this digital age they had never learned how to read an analogue clock – and the reference to hours made no sense to them. I had forgotten about that until yesterday.

My young friend came over to get me to scan and email a document for him. After I’d done that we spent some time looking at dive watches since he is working towards his certification. We pulled up a few on Amazon and he finally said “I can’t use any of those – I can’t read them.” He’s 19 and at no point in his years of education had anybody bothered to teach him or his peers how to read a clock face.

We spent 15 minutes going through the basics but I could tell he wasn’t really all that bothered about learning what I consider a basic skill.

So, I told him to imagine he was on his boat. Then I said that the bow was 12 o’clock, the stern 6. Now, I said, how would you tell somebody that they had to look in a particular direction – for a seal, or another boat, or a hazard in the water. He just looked puzzled.

Fine I said, the computer is 12 and the back wall is 6. The dining room table is at 9 – where is the kitten. He thought about it for a bit and answered “7?”.

I then asked him to think about how easy it would be to communicate location on his boat using that system. His face lit up. He got it.

I wasn’t just being an old person insisting that the younger generation cling to something from my day. The thing is that understanding this simple task is a requirement for any of them who want to get their Captain’s papers. Being able to respond to instructions given using the clock method is important to the crew as well.

You’d think that – even if it isn’t part of the general curriculum – the teachers in the local school would want to give them something they’ll need here on the Island. It’s not an onerous task but it’s also not one I thought I’d be spending my time doing. πŸ™‚


  1. I wouldn’t have realized this would be a problem, either. Interesting and funny. It reminds me of a story a friend (also Canadian) told me. He was teaching freshmen at college. At the end of the sememster, the kids were given the opportunity to receive some paper IF they gave him a self-addressed stamped envelope. Like your young friend, the kids were cluess, and hilarity ensued with what he received by way of a SASE. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. please. i KNOW our generation can still teach them something. unfortunately the younger generation doesn’t seem to believe that. Dec 31.

        Liked by 1 person

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